Both Chuck and I enjoy a good gin and tonic; for the most part, it is our go-to.
So, on my recent trip to Philadelphia, trying a fantastic, locally distilled, award-winning gin should have been reason enough to head just outside of Center City to the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.
Walter, never Walt, was the history buff, Model A Ford, marching band kind of guy. He was mature well beyond his years. He is certainly not the stereotypical hipster craft spirit type of guy.
Twist of Fate
With a background in art, Walter went into corporate America; with the same company for over 25 years until fate turned life upside-down. The Board of Directors changed, and he lost his job.
With a love of history and background in art, Walter reinvented himself as a distiller, learning all he could touring distilleries. He also researched everything he could find from historic Dutch manuscripts.
Working with the original ingredients of what the Dutch called genever, combining different amounts of the ingredients and working with nine tasters and more than fifty variations, he came up with a pretty incredible gin.
Chuck and I had the opportunity to get some of Walter’s Liberty Gin a few years ago, and it’s fantastic. Light, and fragrant it’s perfect for sipping with a twist of lemon. This may well be a variation of a Dutch beverage enjoyed in colonial Philadelphia, as the Old Dutch spice ships were known to have been stocked with genever when trading in colonial Philadelphia.
Liberty Gin uses six classic ingredients: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Cardamom, Lemon Peel, and Grains of Paradise, distilled over an open flame in a copper pot still.
The label, little less classic, is branded with Walter’s picture. A great tie to the story of how my friend turned what would have ruined many people into something amazing.
Palmer’s Liberty Gin as won several prestigious awards in the spirits world over the last few years, including Silver Medals in San Francisco and Berlin and a Double Gold in Denver.
Liberty Gin is growing regionally by leaps and bounds. Currently, it is fairly widely available in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware area with some availability in Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington DC.
Walter is also distilling, and American Corn Whiskey made with an 18th-century recipe using local Pennsylvania spring water, Bucks County Corn (where we grew up), and Chester County Malted Barley, which is also from the Philadelphia five-county region.
This Manayunk Moonshine is currently only available at the distillery.
I had a fantastic afternoon visiting with Walter, we talked gin, distilling and caught up on a hundred or so people we knew growing up.
I’m super excited to see where this childhood friend takes his passion for gin and the distilling business.